University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture
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Keywords

Nutrition, diet, community nutrition, community health, mobile pantry, nutrition assistance program, produce, fruits, vegetables

Abstract

Seeds that Feed (STF) is a mobile food pantry located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. STF receives produce from local farmers to distribute to residents in low-income housing sites throughout Northwest Arkansas. According to Feeding America, food insecurity affected 14.3% Washington County, Arkansas’ population in 2016. The purpose of this study was to determine if STF’s model is an effective way to increase individuals’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables and increase their potential to meet the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Patterns (USDA-FP) for to fruit and vegetable consumption. Twenty-three participants from three sites completed the study. A survey was used to collect basic demographics and dietary patterns. Record was taken of what foods each participant received on the survey day including plans for preparation and to whom it would be served. All anonymous responses were statistically analyzed using Excel. The results indicated that the likelihood to meet the USDA-FP for overall fruit and vegetable intake increased significantly after receiving approximately one cup of fruit and 1 ½ cups of vegetables from STF. A positive correlation was found between the number of times participants received produce from STF and participant’s total fruit intake and total intake of the “red/orange” and “other” vegetable subgroups. Therefore, STF’s model appears to be an effective method to increase access to fresh produce. Future research could utilize STF’s model to assess the potential for other supplemental nutrition programs to help low-income residents meet the USDA-FP and reduce food insecurity via mobile pantry.

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